COP Art: the climate challenge displayed

29 October, 2021

Works of art from countries around the world tell the dramatic story of a changing climate in Art + Resilience, the official COP26 art exhibition. The presentation combines both art and data to deliver a powerful and timely visual message about climate risk and resilience.

Presented by the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI) in partnership with the COP Presidency, the exhibition considers the wide-ranging and direct impact of our changing climate on communities and also seeks to encourage meaningful action towards a more resilient future for all. 

The Art + Resilience exhibition features two main components to be delivered over the course of the summit. The first will be a specially commissioned parametric data sculpture showcasing climate risk related data as an aesthetic art form. There will then be an Augmented Reality Art ‘trail’ for attendees to the conference and the wider public, accessed via QR codes. 

Art + Resilience: Machine Hallucination – Nature Studies Is a new work by new media artist Refik Anadol commissioned by the CCRI and S&P Global for COP26. The work represents a novel frontier for public art – one that sits at the crossroads of art, science and technology, and uses technological and big data advancements to creatively speak to the most pressing challenges of our time. 

The Art + Resilience augmented reality trail will bring together ten pieces of art contained in a central app. The trail will provide details about the artists and their works, as will relay stories about a specific climate risk. Each artwork contained in the app will be made visible by giant QR codes to be displayed in various pavilions in the conference venue.

The Art + Resilience app can be downloaded for free and contains the all the art works on virtual display, including commentaries on the artists, their works and dynamic climate data insights provided by Jupiter Intelligence  

Examples of the art works

Main image Orange 2014 by Gaston Ugalde, Bolivia

Climate risk: Drought

Ugalde combines history with geography, creating contemporary collages by situating fabrics inherent to Andean cultural traditions in the Bolivian landscape. This image is from Ugalde’s photographic series of the Salar de Uvuni saltpan, a location that is an important indicator of rainfall fluctuations in the region. The series draws attention to socio-political associations with the saltpans, not least the effects of climate change in relation to poverty and inequality in the country.

Snow Storm – Steamboat off a Harbour’s Mouth 1842 by JMW Turner, UK

Climate risk: Extreme Weather

Famed for his dramatic landscape paintings, Turner was influenced by the natural world and by the impact of industrialisation. This painting of extreme weather at sea features a ship at the centre of a storm. Overpowered by water and wind, it is symbolic of human efforts tro overcome the forces of nature. The artist was present as the Ariel steamboat in the painting left the harbour at Harwich. The weather depicted so vividly by Turner may become more common with storms of greater intensity and frequency.

Country and Rockholes Near the Olga, 2008 by Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri, Australia

Climate risk: Wildfires

Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri (1920- 2008), a Pitjantjatjara artist from the Western Desert, was renowned as a healer and keeper of sacred knowledge and came to painting late in life. Using a unique cartographic approach, he captured the rockholes, hills, and rocky outcrops of his country around the area of Kata Tjuta (Mount Olga) and Uluru (Ayers Rock). His paintings depict Aboriginal Creation mythology and the creation of significant sites. Intimate knowledge of the landscape, documented and passed down by its traditional owners, is vital to understanding land and its management, including the prevention and control of wildfires. 

Exhibition sponsors: Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, Atlantic Council,

Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI), Jupiter Intelligence, Mott MacDonald, 

S&P Global, Willis Towers Watson 

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